Black and Asian Theatre in Britain is an unprecedented study tracing the history of ‘the Other’ through the ages in British theatre. The diverse and often contradictory aspects of this history are expertly drawn together to provide a detailed background to the work of African, Asian, and Caribbean diasporic companies and practitioners.
Colin Chambers examines early forms of blackface and other representations in the sixteenth century, through to the emergence of black and Asian actors, companies, and theatre groups in their own right. Thorough analysis uncovers how they led to a flourishing of black and Asian voices in theatre at the turn of the twenty-first century.
Figures and companies studied include:
- Ira Aldridge
- Henry Francis Downing
- Paul Robeson
- Errol John
- Mustapha Matura
- Dark and Light Theatre
- The Keskidee Centre
- Indian Art and Dramatic Society
- Edric and Pearl Connor
- Tara Arts
- Yvonne Brewster
Black and Asian Theatre in Britain is an enlightening and immensely readable resource and represents a major new study of theatre history and British history as a whole.
Table of Contents
1. Before Aldridge 2. Aldridge and the age of minstrelsy 3. From Aldridge to World War I 4. From World War I to World War II 5. Post war to the end of the 1960s 6. Black Theatre, 1970-1980 7. Asian diasporic theatre from the 1970s 8. 1980s and beyond
Colin Chambers was Kingston University’s first Professor of Drama. Formerly a journalist and theatre critic, he was Literary Manager of the Royal Shakespeare Company from 1981 to 1997. His books include The Story of Unity Theatre (1989), the award-winning biography Peggy: The Life of Margaret Ramsay, Play Agent (1997), The Continuum Companion to Twentieth Century Theatre (editor, 2002), Inside the Royal Shakespeare Company (2004) and Here We Stand (2006).
"It is one of the great strengths and, importantly, pleasures of this book, that it moves well beyond a mere chronicling of activities and individuals into a sensitive description of battles fought and prejudices encountered." - Martin Banham, African Theatre
'An important and long overdue book on the huge contribution that Black and Asian artists have made and continue to make to Britain’s theatrical landscape.’ - Meera Syal